Israel invades Jenin refugee camp: it’s a massacre

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It was a little after 7 o’clock yesterday morning when a milk truck slowly drove into Jenin refugee camp which was beginning to wake up. Soldiers from Israeli elite units got out of the vehicle and laid siege to a house.

In a few moments, to the astonishment of passers-by, dozens of other soldiers arrived aboard armored jeeps. A huge deployment of forces to capture or eliminate the brothers Mohammad and Nureddin Ghneim and a third member of Jihad Islami. Taken by surprise, the three responded to the order to surrender by choosing to fight to the death.

THEIR END it arrived shortly after. The military planted explosives in the building at which they also fired an anti-tank rocket. In a statement released by the army on Twitter it is stated that the operation targeted a Jihad cell responsible for armed attacks and having planned an attack.

But what Israel describes as a preventive “operation” against “a terrorist cell” was a massacre, a bloodbath for the Palestinians of Jenin who experienced one of the most dramatic days in recent years.

Hours of death and violence that brought back to Palestinian collective memory the “Wall of Defense” offensive of 2002 when the Israeli army destroyed more than half of the refugee camp at the end of weeks of siege which cost the lives of dozens of Palestinians (and 15 soldiers) in the city which, together with Nablus, is the stronghold of armed militancy against the Israeli occupation that began over 55 years ago.

The reaction of the inhabitants of the camp was immediate. The first to face the Israeli soldiers in arms were the men of the Jenin Battalion, then dozens of young people took to the streets with stones and bottles. Another five Palestinians fell under the snipers’ shots: Abdullah al Ghul, Moatasem al Hassan, Wassim al Jass, Mohammed Sobh and Yassin Salahat.

A 61-year-old woman, Magda Obaid, was shot and killed in her home. Another 20 Palestinians were injured: four are in critical condition at Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin.

The same hospital under fire with the acrid smoke of tear gas canisters that invaded some of the wards. Palestinian Health Minister Mai al Kaileh denounced: Red Crescent workers were unable to evacuate the wounded because Israeli soldiers closed access to the refugee camp and “fired tear gas at the pediatric ward of the hospital”.

A Dweller of the field, Maher Natur, told al manifesto: «There have been hours of terror. The whine of bullets was incessant. Our boys behind flaming tires faced the soldiers with stones». Prior to the raid on the camp, Maher added, “(Israeli forces) cut off the electricity, internet and cellphone networks.”

In those moments, still in the refugee camp, the al Sabbagh family experienced the same scenes as in 2002 when their house was surrounded and destroyed by the army, which on that occasion killed Alaa al Sabbagh of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade. Military bulldozers yesterday destroyed the new home. In the evening, Israeli TV broadcast the videos shot by the soldiers who entered Jenin. Those posted by Palestinians with bloodied bodies on the asphalt have gone viral on social media.

IN JENIN IN THE EVENING a ban on the entry of commercial vehicles into the refugee camp was announced. The Jenin massacre has ignited a fire that could engulf the occupied Palestinian territories in the coming days. Yesterday demonstrations and rallies protesting against Israel occupied the centers of Palestinian towns and villages.

Clashes broke out in Ramallah, Nablus and in Ram, north of Jerusalem, where a 22-year-old boy, Yusef Mohaisen, was killed by Israeli soldiers, bringing the death toll to 10 in a single day and 29 since the start of the ‘year.

TODAY, SECOND DAY of national mourning proclaimed by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), demonstrations are announced everywhere that could involve Jerusalem and the Esplanade of the mosques on the day of Friday prayers. Barbara Leaf, a US State Department official for the Middle East, called the killings of civilians in Jenin “deplorable”. You then added that Washington is “gathering more information about the raid.”

A clear condemnation of the massacre has come from Egypt but Cairo, according to local media, is at the same time putting pressure on Jihad and above all on Hamas to prevent the escalation threatened by one of the leaders, Saleh Arouri.

«I am extremely alarmed by the news of the renewed lethal violence in Jenin – Francesca Albanese, UN rapporteur for human rights in the occupied territories wrote on Twitter – While the facts and circumstances must be ascertained, I recall the obligation of the occupying power to ensure that civilized persons are always protected from all forms of violence”.

“Security coordination with Israel no longer exists as of this moment,” the Palestinian National Authority announced yesterday afternoon through Nabil Abu Rudeinah, spokesman for President Abu Mazen, meeting the consensus of the population.

SIMILAR ANNOUNCEMENTS however they have been done many times in the past without ever finding confirmation on the ground. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu replied by arguing that he “is not aiming for an escalation. But the security forces are ready to face any development on the various fronts.

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